Women’s groups de­mand jus­tice in 2015 ab­duc­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

WOMEN’S rights groups are de­mand­ing ac­tion in a year-old case in­volv­ing the ab­duc­tion and tor­ture of a teenager from North Okkalapa town­ship.

The Myan­mar Pos­i­tive Women Net­work and Akhaya Women Myan­mar say that the sen­tenc­ing is tak­ing too long and have or­gan­ised a protest in Tarmwe town­ship on the new sen­tenc­ing date, Septem­ber 15.

In Septem­ber 2015, the 18-year-old was ab­ducted by her boyfriend, 32, who chained her feet, beat her and cut her with a knife. The woman sur­vived and her mother re­ported the case to the North Okkalapa po­lice.

“We do not want to wait any­more,” Myan­mar Pos­i­tive Women Net­work chair Daw Htwe Htwe Myint said. “We want jus­tice in this case. It has been a year. In this case, there is strong ev­i­dence that the girl suf­fered from the vi­o­lence.”

The trial be­gan in Novem­ber 2015 and was sched­uled to con­clude with sen­tenc­ing on Au­gust 30, 2016 but the date was pushed back to Septem­ber 15. The man faces up to eight years in prison.

The or­gan­i­sa­tions hope the lengthy trial pe­riod will con­clude with the com­ing sen­tenc­ing.

“When the court moved the sen­tenc­ing date, we wor­ried that ac­tion will not be taken against this crime,” said Akhaya Women Myan­mar case man­ager Daw Win Win Khine.

At the protest, which has re­ceived a per­mit from the po­lice, about 25 peo­ple will speak about vi­o­lence against women and de­mand jus­tice for the vic­tim.

“A prob­lem with our so­ci­ety is that peo­ple would rather blame the vic­tim than urge pun­ish­ment for the per­son who com­mit­ted the crime,” said Daw Htwe Htwe Myint.

Asia Jus­tice and Rights said in a state­ment that ev­i­dence shows that not enough is be­ing done to ad­dress do­mes­tic vi­o­lence.

“Vi­o­lence against women is wide­spread,” Daw Win Win Khine said. “Th­ese days, the most com­mon type of vi­o­lence ex­pe­ri­enced by women is per­pe­trated by an in­ti­mate part­ner.”

The Min­istry of So­cial Welfare, Re­lief and Re­set­tle­ment be­gan draft­ing a bill to pre­vent vi­o­lence against women in 2012, but it is yet to pass into ef­fect. The law would crim­i­nalise do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, and in­cludes a def­i­ni­tion of mar­i­tal rape.

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